If you haven’t read What I Know Now – Letters to My Younger Self, read it. Then read it again. Then share it with a friend.
What would you tell your younger self? Look at your life at this exact moment. In retrospect, would you tell a naive you to take another path? Or would you tell ‘yourself’ to buckle up, hold on tight and enjoy the ride? This is your chance to inspire, yourself.
It has been a trying twenty three years thus far. You’ve graduated high school, proven yourself worthy of academic scholarships by Hanover’s standards, oh and how could I forget you birthed an enormous child, created a new life in Midwest America, and you have fervently driven yourself into madness trying to answer the questions in your heart that most people don’t answer in a lifetime.
To you, sixteen-year-old Ki, first and foremost you are beautiful. You don’t know that now, I’m not sure you ever will… but try every day to believe it in your heart. Second, you are brilliant. Maybe not by most “normal people’s standards,” but your creativity is rare, unique, passionate. You are not Edgar Allan Poe, but follow his lead. Having role models is key. You know that gut feeling you have now as you sit in English class? Hold on to that. Hold on tight, Kiley. It is OKAY to feel something special when you write. It is OKAY to be a thinker; to be a dreamer. It is OKAY to share your thoughts. Share with everyone. Share your talents. Build your confidence now because I can tell you from experience that the longer you wait, the more you will struggle expressing what you know to be true.
STOP with the fake smile. It is OKAY to be real with people. Being real does not mean showing everyone what they want to see; saying everything others want to hear. Being real is where your life begins, not ends. It is not the end of the world to cry and show people that you are only human.
STOP giving away your love with such ease. People will take advantage of your love. I’m telling you now that the greatest love you will ever know is not far off in the future. His love is beautiful. His love is new. His love is pure.
Have confidence that you will make the right decisions for you. Your path will be different than most your age, but wonderfully adventurous (if you enjoy not sleeping for the rest of your life). If you haven’t caught on already, you will be a young mother. Can you believe it? You will be someone’s role model; someone’s biggest influence for the rest of his life. Have the confidence to know you are a careful listener, a lifelong teacher, an amazing mother.
Lastly, enjoy the short-lived experience that is college.
Your days of:
- Living for yourself
- Zero responsibility (except good grades and occasionally dragging your ass out of bed to show up to class) and
- Building friendships that will last long after your impulsive exit from Hanover (yes, impulsive)
…..will feel like the blink of an eye.
Kiley, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. If you don’t love yourself, no one else truly can. If you could only read this, at sixteen, oh how different you – I – would be.